Everyone needs help from others at some point in their lives; for Cordiella James, this need for help especially hit when she found out she was pregnant while serving time in an Orange County jail. It was a low point for James, who says she was “very, very blessed” to discover the Precious Life Center, a shelter created to help pregnant women overcome serious challenges in their lives and become independent.
Today, James has now completely turned her life around and feels she could not have done that without the help of this center.
Precious Life Shelter was founded by Theresa Sherrin, who was volunteering at a local shelter when she saw a need for pregnant women to have extra support during their pregnancies. Over the years, Theresa and her husband opened their home to more than 44 pregnant women to give them a place to stay until their children were born. This led to Theresa opening the Precious Life Center in 1989.
Since the opening, the center has expanded from just a handful of beds and cribs to 32 beds and an infant center.
The center is organized into different stages. The first stage is emergency shelter care for up to 30 days. If the woman wishes to continue with the shelter, the next stage is the transitional program, where they will have shelter for up to six months and participate in character and professional classes. At this stage, if it is safe, they are encouraged to reach out to family to build a support system outside of the shelter. Another stage is the Single Parent Efficiency Program, which provides assistance until the child is two years old. To stay in this program, the woman must have full-time work and take additional courses at the center. They offer self-help skills to the woman, such as cleaning and caring for an apartment and caring for a child while also working a full-time job.
Cordiella now has a full-time job and an apartment with her two-year-old child. Cordiella stated that the center saved her life. “I just thank God and I thank the community for putting their part into Precious Life Shelter.”